The University of Texas at Arlington’s Center for Mexican American Studies gave away 1,600 bags filled with masks, hand sanitizer and health information to low-income families in Arlington to help during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Christian Zlolniski, director for the Center for Mexican American Studies (CMAS) and associate professor of sociology and anthropology, said it’s important to provide health information in English and Spanish to keep families safe.
“COVID-19 has severely affected North Texas, and in particular low-income Latino communities,” Zlolniski said. “These communities have a higher rate of cases and their families have fewer resources to confront the pandemic and stay informed.”
CMAS partnered with University Crossroads, New Maverick Orientation & Transition Programs, the Office of Admissions and the College of Nursing and Health Innovation to promote the initiative, collect hundreds of masks and UTA bags, and provide volunteers to assemble the bags for the families.
“This is a community that matters to UT Arlington,” Zlolniski said. “Many of our students come from families who have been hard hit by the pandemic. CMAS has a mission to engage the community in a timely manner and serve as a bridge between UTA and the Latino community in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex through various service outreach activities. This was a way we could help and show our support.”
Volunteers worked with Arlington ISD to coordinate and hand out the bags at various elementary schools. Other organizations, including Cuidado Casero and the Regional Hispanic Contractors Association, contributed to the community outreach project as well.
“We were happy to provide back-to-school essentials for some of our most vulnerable communities in Arlington,” said Michele Bobadilla, senior associate vice president of outreach and community engagement and assistant provost of Hispanic student success. “Through this pandemic, it is important to celebrate a safe return to school for AISD elementary students.”